Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Happy Ending

I have mentioned, in the past, of my great antipathy for Excel spreadsheets. They are right up there with Power Point presentations as the bane of my existence.

Today I worked about 6 hours to finish up a spreadsheet and analyze the data in it for a project stakeholder meeting tomorrow morning. I'd put maybe 4 or 5 hours into yesterday and last week, as well. Having had Excel tragedies in the past, mostly due to lost data from crashes, I saved my work early and often.

Finally, I was done. I opened a new email in Outlook (about #5 on my list of hated applications), wrote a brief of my analysis, attached the spreadsheet and sent the email to the stakeholders.

Then I, for reasons I don't really remember at this time, I opened the spreadsheet from the email - maybe I was having a premonition - and saw that instead of the new and improved data rich and analyzed spreadsheet, there was instead attached a very early version. I began to experience what delicate women once called 'the vapors'. Then I panicked.

I went searching for the newer, updated version that much of my sweat and blood had just gone into. I couldn't find it. I sunk into the depths of depression. I was going to have to work for 6 more hours to re-construct all that work. The question was, could I do it drunk, because all I wanted at that moment was a large tumbler of Midleton Irish Whisky.

I sent off a despondent email to the people waiting for this data that they had received the wrong spreadsheet, I couldn't find the right one, and that I was going to have to re-do the spreadsheet tonight but would have it for them by the morning meeting.

Then I got an idea...there's this folder called OLK38 in my computer's temporary folders where all the attachments I send with emails seem to reside - at least for a while - probably until I shut down my laptop or re-boot (it stays on almost all the time, so the folder gets pretty full). So, brimming with hope, yet filled with trepidation, I checked there.

Hallelujah! The computer guardian angels were smiling on me - it was there!! I guess I'd opened the original worksheet from an email attachment (thus it was in that OLK folder) and had been obsessively saving my work there instead of to the file on my desktop - which was the one I attached to my first email.

So, it's not Excel's fault, really. But I blame Excel anyway.


Matt D said...


Whenever I make a major change to a document (for me, it's usually an In Design or Illustrator or Photoshop doc), I always save it as a new version and put the old one in a folder. It's a good habit to get yourself into.

There are also ways I know to save revisions in Office docs so it does all that automatically, though I don't know how it works.

The captcha for this post is "weecock"

How did they know? :(

Dawno said...

You know, I do that too. But with this particular spreadsheet from hell I just kept hitting save to the original version because I didn't care to save it as the original...lesson learned :-)